Browsing articles from "June, 2015"
Jun 29, 2015
Comments Off on Tuesday Evening in Warner Park 6:30 to 8 P.M. All welcome

Tuesday Evening in Warner Park 6:30 to 8 P.M. All welcome

Jun 29, 2015
Comments Off on Garden Walk, August 2, 2015 noon to 5

Garden Walk, August 2, 2015 noon to 5

Hello Everybody;

The annual Graceland West Garden Walk is coming soon. Over the next couple of weeks we will be surveying the neighborhood to see who is interested in participating this year. If you are interested please contact, by phone or text, Donna Forsberg at 773-742-3939 or email to We look forward to hearing from you.

Jun 26, 2015
Comments Off on July 14, 6:45 Pot Luck, “Rain Ready” Presentation at Warner Park

July 14, 6:45 Pot Luck, “Rain Ready” Presentation at Warner Park

Dear GWCA Neighbor,
Join GWCA! Annual dues are reduced to $15.00 individual, $25.00 couple / family, $4.00 senior, $6.00 senior couple. email for application.
• GWCA boundaries are Montrose, Irving Park, Clark and Ashland.
• Block Reps are our neighborhood communicators. They spearhead neighborhood outreach and crime prevention. Please email, to become a Block Rep or find out more.

June 2nd through August, 6:30-8pm. Social. “Tuesday Evenings in Warner Park”.

July 14, 6:45 pm Meeting and Pot Luck at Warner Park. GWCA and Warner Park co-sponsor CNT (Center for Neighborhood Technology) “Rain Ready”, a homeowner and community program with focus on preventing rain and drought related issues. Please bring a homemade appetizer, salad, main dish or dessert. BYOB. Rain or shine, please join us for a fun and informative evening for all!
CNT has also developed a Rain related survey for GWCA neighbors and businesses. Please fill out the survey whether or not you attend the July 14th meeting. Here’s the link:

August 2, 33rd Annual GWCA GARDEN WALK noon – 5pm. Followed by Gardener’s Dinner. See and neighborhood kiosks for map. Contact to show your garden or help on the committee.

September 12, GWCAFest. Parade(s) at 11:30 am. GWCAFest noon-4pm. Warner Park & Gardens. Contact to help with the parade(s), event, or to donate to the Amazing Silent Auction. LVHS students help with this event.

October 24, GWCA HALLOWEEN PARTY. Parade at 1:30. Event 2-4pm. Warner Park & Gardens. Contact Libby would like a shadow who can then chair the event in 2016. LVHS students help with this event.

November 21, GWCA 3rd ANNUAL INTERSECTION & Crosswalk LEAF CLEANUP, 9-11am. Start at Belle Plaine & Greenview. This project helps prevent flooding. Bring 10 leaf bags and a rake or shovel. Contact or to help or just show up. LVHS students help too.

December 3, GWCA MEETING, ELECTION & HOLIDAY POTLUCK, 6:30 – 8:30pm. Location TBD.

All Year. GWCA Walks. Enjoy the Lake View High School Track at sunrise or anytime Lake View isn’t using the track. At 6:45 am, you’ll probably meet a few neighbors unless it’s way too wet or slick.

2016 GWCA Meetings: See website for information.

Jun 17, 2015
Comments Off on Ald. Pawar explains his opposition to Noble Academy moving to Uptown and his plans for K-12 system

Ald. Pawar explains his opposition to Noble Academy moving to Uptown and his plans for K-12 system

As you may know, last month, Noble Academy had a proposal before the CPS board to move their high school campus from 17 N. State Street to 640 W. Irving Park Road. After hearing from elected officials and community members in the areas covering Amundsen H.S., Lake View H.S., Senn H.S., Sullivan H.S., and Uplift H.S., Noble Academy officials announced that they will be withdrawing their plans to move their high school campus to Uptown. I want to thank Michael Milkie, the Noble Network of Charter Schools CEO and Superintendent, and the CPS Board of Education for listening to and understanding the concerns of hundreds of neighbors across many wards, the neighborhood high school principals, Local School Councils, and elected officials. A big thank you to all the parents, community members, principals, and neighborhood school advocates for making their voice heard. All said, I sincerely hope that the Noble Academy secures a permanent home for their high school.

I know that school choice and charter schools are a fiercely debated issues across Chicago. And I have serious concerns about the impacts of school choice to neighborhood schools. That said, I am not reflexively anti-charter nor am I anti-Noble. I will not pretend that I know what is best for all communities. But I do know that we have been working together for four years to build the City’s first neighborhood K-12 system; creating a system within a system which links our neighborhood elementary schools to our neighborhood high schools. The overarching goal is to change the narrative around neighborhood high schools by investing in these schools and providing all families with stability and equity. The same stability and equity suburban K-12 systems provide Chicago families as they flee the City to escape the selective enrollment pressure cooker. And most importantly, all families and students seek this stability and equity- not just those with economic and professional mobility.

My opposition to Noble Academy had nothing to do with Noble as institution. I opposed the move to maintain the progress we’ve made on creating a neighborhood K-12.

We’ve gotten some questions about plans for a neighborhood K-12. See below for answers to frequently asked questions.

What’s the problem with the current CPS system?
People move to our community for elementary schools, but move to the suburbs for high schools when their children reach the sixth or seventh grade (sometimes much earlier). Why? Families and students are living in a pressure-cooker. If you live in Tier 3 or 4 of the CPS Tier system, your child has to get straight A’s and test in the 95-99% percentile to test into a selective enrollment high school. For many families, the stress is just too much and they move to the suburbs. What do they get in the suburbs? Suburbs make schools the starting point for everything they do. Property values, economic development, and community sustainability is tied to the school districts. So one tax bill nets a family an entire K-12 system. This means there is no stress about getting into the right high school to get into the right college as everyone goes to the same high school. There is more stability and equity for all kids. And this allows kids to be kids and families to live with some peace.

What is #GROWCommunity?
In sum, #GROWCommunity aims to solve the problems created by the selective enrollment pressure cooker. This means, we need to invest in and embrace our neighborhood high schools so we can have a school system which serves all learners.

The #GROWCommunity effort is comprised of parents, community leaders, elected officials, principals, and teachers. The goal is to link the K-8 schools which feed into Lake View and Amundsen as a cohesive system in the same way suburban communities link their schools. To this end, we launched a #GROWCommunity taskforce to help accelerate efforts around a neighborhood K-12. This task force is co-chaired by three aldermen, Mayor Emanuel, and UCHICAGO Impact. Learn more about #GROWCommunity by clicking here. Learn more about the #GROW47 successes by clicking here.

So you’re saying that selective enrollment schools are the problem?
No. The schools are fine institutions and kids attending these are schools are amazing. But so are the kids who test into the 95th percentile. As are the kids who test into the 90th, or 85th, 75th, etc. The selective enrollment system IS the problem.We need to move away from a system which clumps the highest test scores and grades in the third largest city in the country into ten schools — and then use the resulting test score averages (by ACT) from these ten schools as the basis for comparison for all Chicago high schools. This measurement is creating an unhealthy environment for parents and kids across Chicago.

I see the average scores of the selective enrollment high schools. They are much higher than neighborhood high schools. Can you say something about that?
For perspective, the average ACT score at Northside Prep is 30.7. That average is held up by policymakers as a triumph of Chicago Public Schools and is then used by national publications to calculate national high school rankings. Many parents and kids use this average score (and those of other selective enrollment schools) in making decisions regarding high school. Interestingly, families who leave for suburbs like Niles, Park Ridge, Morton Grove, Wilmette, etc., leave for schools whose composite scores come nowhere near the average scores of Chicago selective enrollment schools. For example, the average ACT score at Evanston is 23. Maine South comes in at 24.3. Niles West has an average of 21.9. And finally, New Trier has an average score of 27.4. So in the City, parents and kids live in a constant state of stress in the hopes of gaining admission to a selective enrollment school yet leave for high schools that don’t score anywhere near selective enrollment schools.

So what are suburban high schools doing differently? Or more simply, why are their scores lower?
The answer is simple. Suburban schools take everyone. Students may get tracked but they take everyone – whereas, selective enrollment schools cream off the top of a system of 370k students. The creaming results in the dramatic differences in scores between City selective enrollment schools and suburban high schools.

So it seems like you’re making the case for more choice and more selective enrollment schools?
No. Actually the opposite. We need to invest in our neighborhood high schools. Why? Each year, there are nearly 17k applicants for 3200 selective enrollment slots. To meet demand, we couldn’t build selective enrollment schools fast enough. And building more schools and adding more seats is not a solution, especially given the state of CPS’ finances. The responsible and right solution is to invest in schools like Lake View, Amundsen, Senn, Sullivan, and Uplift.

Ok. You’re throwing out average test scores, policy choices, etc. What about the kids?
I think the debate on charters and selective enrollment are linked. To me, we must link neighborhood schools (and existing charter schools) to their community. This is what every community outside of an urban area does – they build a K-12 system first and everything else follows. In urban areas, policy debates on education center around union/non-union issues, privatization, corporate reform, etc. While these are all worthwhile topics, in my mind, refocusing efforts around building neighborhood K-12 systems cuts across ideology and politics and instead focuses on building whole communities around neighborhood schools. And in the midst of all the various debates involving adults, kids end up having to navigate a system where they have to be perfect to test into a selective enrollment school. This is totally absurd.

When I was going door-to-door in 2010 and 2011, I talked to thousands of you. And most of you brought up the issue related to high schools. And for this reason, I’ve been working with our neighborhood elementary schools, community leaders, parents, and principals to scale your work and successes from neighborhood elementary schools to the neighborhood high schools. This has been my all-in since 2011 and will continue to be in this term.

And this brings me back to the beginning of this letter. I didn’t take joy in opposing the Noble move and I am not celebrating their withdrawal. In fact, I feel conflicted about it all. That said, I opposed the move because so many of us have worked so hard to realize our goal of building a neighborhood K-12 system – and the addition of seats to an area where the community is catalyzing a movement around neighborhood high schools would have been a mistake.

I know there are people on both sides of this debate and I owe you my perspective on the issue.
Now here is my ask of you: we need to continue working together around our neighborhood high schools and change the conversation around selective enrollment. And we can’t talk about school choice without talking about selective enrollment. And finally, we need to stop the peer pressure between parents surrounding selective enrollment. If the adults stop pressuring one another, the kids will follow. Together, we can create a neighborhood K-12 system for all learners in our community. All you have to do is get involved with our wonderful neighborhood high schools.

Click here to learn more about the Friends of Amundsen.
Click here to learn more about the Lake View Partners.


Jun 15, 2015
Comments Off on Tuesday Night at Warner Park, 6-8pm

Tuesday Night at Warner Park, 6-8pm

Warner Park is excited about the growing number of neighbors stopping by to enjoy the park and meet friends and meet neighbors. Please stop by anytime, but especially “Tuesday Night at Warner Park, 6-8pm”. 1448 West Warner. Warner Park says “Thanks for coming!”

Upcoming Events

  1. GWCA Annual Yard / Garage Sale

    June 2 @ 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
  2. GWCA Annual Yard / Garage Sale Rain Date

    June 3 @ 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

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